A Meridian native, Mrs. Susie Johnson is a lifelong proponent of the arts in this community. She serves as the Meridian Symphony Association's Executive Director, having previously served as the association's Education Director. Johnson holds a degree in English from Asbury Universit and is a founding member of the Meridian Performing Arts Center. For the past decade, Johnson has enriched the artistic scene of Meridian through founding and directing MPAC's celebrated teen theatre group, Stage 2. In addition to the children Johnson works with week after week, she and her husband, Joel, have three children of their own: Benjamin, Jenna, and KK of Nashville's Track 45.
Ms. Kay Mayfield O'Shaughnessy, lovingly known as "Susie's Devoted Assistant," serves as the Meridian Symphony Association's Administrative Assistant. Having devoted a lifetime to the arts, both onstage, in the office, and in the board room, O'Shaughnessy is committed to enriching the artistic opportunities within the community and beyond.
Kay Mayfield O'Shaughnessy
Meridian native Dr. Kristen Johnson Gunn has assumed duties as choral director of the Meridian Symphony Chorus. Gunn previously served on the music faculty at Mississippi College, where since 2008 she was associate professor of voice and coordinator of musical theatre and opera productions.
Gunn received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Mississippi College (2003) and her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Voice (Opera) from Florida State University (2006; 2008).
During the past 20 years, Gunn has acquired much experience and praise as both singer and teacher. She held the title of Mississippi and Southern Regional NATSAA (National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards) winner for 2014 which allowed her to represent the Southern region at the NATS national conference in Boston, Massachusetts (July 2014). While in Boston, Gunn was chosen as a national finalist where she successfully completed and was announced as winner of the sixth place prize, the Louis T. Nicholas Award. During the past 10 years, Gunn has often been featured on the stages of Mississippi Opera, several of Mississippi’s colleges and universities and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. Past performances include: Micaela (Meridian Symphony’s concert version of Bizet’s Carmen in 2007), Gabriel (Meridian Symphony’s 2008 production of Haydn’s Creation), Fiordiligi (Mississippi Opera’s 2013 production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte), Santuzza (Mississippi Opera’s 2015 production of Mascagni’s Cavelleria Rusticana), and many other concert and cabaret performances with these companies and others. In addition to being an active performer throughout the state of Mississippi, Gunn has also performed on stages in Italy (2004 & 2008), Belgium (2009), South Africa (2014) and New York’s Lincoln Center (2012).
Choral Director of the Meridian Symphony Chorus Singers
David Benson is organist-choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Meridian. He is also the accompanist and arranger for the Meridian Symphony Chorus. David was the founder and director of Melrose Music Theatre in Gainesville, Florida, for over two decades. David and his wife Jo, a public school music teacher of many years, met at their alma mater, Stetson University. They have two children and one granddaughter.
Accompanist of the Meridian Symphony Chorus Singers